Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Need a Miracle again

Last night I redid all my figuring on the financial aspect of this adoption and realized we need more money than we thought! I had not included the children's airfare home (a slight miscalculation) and I had entered two deposits, two different times and had not budgeted to plan on possibly being there for 6 weeks ( I had only budgeted for 4 weeks) So we need $17,499.52! So that is where we are at and I'm bummed! We hope to leave by the first of Mach, so we have to make sure it all comes in by then.

The only things we still need are:

$8500 for our program fees
$3000 travel to the country
$6000 in country (travel, hotel, food, various expenses)

All other fees have been paid or there is money to pay them.

Homestudy (all fees involved including backgrounds)
Commitment fee
USCIS
Appostille fees
Shipping fees
Medical exams (for us)
Medicals (for our new children)
Visa applications (the children's)
Passports (for all of our children)
Fee for extra child
Translation Fee

So much is paid for, and we have only three things now to raise money for (although they are BIG things)

This whole step of faith has been a miracle. Every fee that is required at this point is paid for. God called us to this and he will provide the rest, I'm sure of it but I sure wish it would happen today:) That would make this faith walk a little less scary!

I don't want to be like the children of Israel...God would do a miracle for them and a few days later, they'd be right back to grumbling & complaining !!!! I don't want to grumble or complain. I want to trust God for His provision!!! So please pray for us that God will supply!

If you'd like to donate, please send donations to :
Grace Church
7060 Berry Road
Zephyrhills, Fl 33540 attn: Clanton family adoption

they are tax deductible!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Process

Sometimes when you are in the adoption process things begin to feel surreal. Right now with our main dossier in country & our homeland security approval coming very soon, most of my CRAZY running around is over. Now we are almost to the point of sitting back and waiting...waiting on that phone call that will turn our world upside down. With the way our children's country moves, we will probably go in the first of March. So between now & then, we raise our money and we wait...

I remember the wait and the frantic phone call December 31 2005....Yvonne "hello" Agency "we need you to leave for China by 5th" OMG!!!! I had to get a VISA for travel from Washington DC's Chinese Embassy & arrange my flight OVER New Years Holiday! I do not know how it all came together to this very day, it's a blur with just little pieces here & there...what a crazy 6 days! But it all came together! And on Jan 8th (Jan 7th here and that added to some confusion) I sat in a cold orphanage & waited. Waited for a lady to come in the door and hand me Shad. What a moment forever emblazoned on my mind.

With Steve, Sam & Shad those first few moments are like little videos in my brain. With all three, all I can remember of those moments are them! I don't know who handed them to me or even what they looked like, ALL I focused on was that child! So as with childbirth, adoption is 100% the same, you don't see nothing but the child! And it's shocking! I know when I was pregnant both times I was shocked to see a real baby:) I guess I thought ET was in there moving around or something. Well with adoption it is shocking to see that little person that you've fallen in love with from a picture, in real life! It is breathtaking!

So right now I'm in the stretch where it seems unreal. Will I really get to that child? This time around we have many more worries , both for the country and the changes that seem to come without warning and for the children's health & well being. We know more this time and it is scary...lots can go wrong just like in a pregnancy.

Things have moved at such speed for our adoption, that it is truly unreal. It certainly helped that we'd done an adoption before, already had a Social Worker who'd worked with us and had done home studies & post placement reports on us. But honestly I just did everything humanly possibly to speed things along. If it could be hand walked through I took it. I didn't give any allowances for human error or wasted time and that does help! Pretty sure we had so many paperwork errors that I'm responsible for killing a small forest! We had a friend of Jon's who is a notary that helped us so much, redoing everything and always being available for us! God provided for us.

So as committed as we are in our hearts, we are trying to hold back a little emotionally. We've seen other families lose their child(ren) due to other folks adopting that child or changes in that government's adoption laws ( they didn't affect us this time) The country we are adopting from does not allow the family to pre select a child and have that child held for them. China is different you don't have that concern. Of course it doesn't seem that children in institutions or with the various special needs our two have are really affected by that. They've both been waiting since they were 1 year old, so chances are no one else will come for them. The ones who seem to get adopted out like that are ones who have minor special needs & who are still in orphanages. So in one small way we are lucky. "So while it is not likely we'll have complications, it's still a scary thing that lurks in the back of my mind!

So we are just holding on, doing (or have done) everything we can do & praying that all goes well! Please continue to pray for our babies!!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness

Last night my husband and I watched an old movie called "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness". It's about an English girl who wants to be a missionary to China back in the 1930's. She goes & endures so many hardships. In the end she rescues about 400 orphans from certain death by the Japaneses. To me the most touching scene is when the town elder tells everyone to leave town and go to the mountains to escape and he honors the missionary by putting it in the town's records, as they are closing down the town, that he has chosen to be a christian based on her life....she just sobs (and so do we) What a movie! Guess what, it was not a christian movie...rather it was a Hollywood film from the 60's! Pretty amazing to see how far we have fallen. We certainly do not have movies like that anymore! The movie was so inspiring to me. I had read about this missionary before (I can't remember her name this morning but I think I have a book on her) But what a life she led!

Jon kept comparing me to the lady,she was a bit headstrong! LOL She was told in England, by the experts, she could never be a missionary, she didn't have the right training. Then she was told she couldn't get there because of all the turbulence in the world but she just preserved on. I LOVE determination.

So many times I look at people who have gone no where in their lives, some had dreams but they were told it was impossible so they believed it and let their dreams go....That is sad but it also makes me mad!!

Recently my husband found an old list of mine. I had written it my first year in college (BTW, I had folks who told me I'd never make it in college! I had no support from anyone but a friend & her mom. But I made it!!) So I had written my life goals on the list......Dear God, I almost fell out!!!!!! So many of them I had achieved!!! Almost all of them!

The thing that makes me laugh is that for every one of those goals, I had people telling me I could NOT do it!!!!!! But with God's help and my determination I did!

My goals were to finish college & get my BA, marry a wonderful husband (I had all the qualities I wanted written down & Jon met them)! Travel, move to NYC & work in inner city ministry, have kids, adopt kids..etc.... I've met most of the dreams I had written down.

I want to encourage you to remember your dreams...no matter where you are in life, push forward with your dreams. don't let anyone stand in your way. You may have to work hard, I did, she did...She was a maid scrubbing the floors to save up the money to go to China. She didn't look so heroic then but each step was a step to her destiny.

Great movie, watch it if you have the chance. I'm going to try and track it down so I can buy it!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Do you get it??? And Update

I got hit by a troll on my blog. A troll is exactly what it sounds like , an ugly inside & out person, who hides out and doesn't make their identify known. The troll said something to the effect we should save our pennies if we wanted to buy a child & that we were participating in child trafficking....


Just to answer that trolls questions and any that anyone else has....

We personally were not expecting to adopt. We have our three boys including an adopted child, and were quite content with our life. Actually I had given away alot of our youngest child's things recently. (and yes I could kick myself now!) BUT God had a different plan than what we had!

Just by looking on an orphan listing site, our hearts were moved with compassion. We couldn't get away from what God was asking us to do. We're not saints but we try and listen to that small voice that leads us down life's path. That small voice told us to go and get these two precious children left to languish in a mental institution until they died. We understand children like them, our own son was born with similar if not the same condition. The difference is we took care of our son since the day he was born. We worked with him, got him medical care and most import, loved on him. So we know what these two particular children need medically, physically & emotionally. No we didn't have $30,000 saved up to rescue them but we know the same God who asked us to step forward, would ask others to step forward and be a part of this. It's been a beautiful thing to see.

As far as child trafficking...that's laughable. the two children we picked aren't going to grace the cover of American Baby or do photo shoots for Toys R Us. They don't have alot of what the world calls outward beauty. Folks will stare at them. We know that, people do with our son. We've found that people don't like any imperfection. We are not picking them because thy are the perfect blond haired, blue eyed children so prized by the world's standards. But to us, no one could be cuter:)

We want to be their parents to take care of them and bring them happiness. I don't think they've seen alot of happiness. WE can't wait to get them started in therapy and possibly have some eye operations to see if they can be given some sight. These two, so like our precious little boy , deserve more than lying in a bed until they die! They are God's creation.

Why do I think God allows children to be born like this..I have lots of theological ideas about it , obviously we live in a fallen world, God's not a genie who makes everything perfect right now...etc etc.... But I know that God uses situations in our lives to help us to grow & learn compassion. Obviously I do not believe that God caused my son to be born the way he was, but God worked in our lives through those circumstances. He changed us & it's been a good thing! I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. Sam's life has deepen mine! Would I have chosen for him to have all this...? Of course not! But we can't make everything right. But I love that God can be with us in our worst moments & speak comfort to our hearts. And because God has done that for us, we are equipped by God to be able to give two other children a home. Wow I love how God works. Ten years ago, I could not have done this! I wouldn't know where to start but since being taught by the Great Sam:) I know how to help a blind child. But don't let the fact that you have not had a child with a disability give you an excuse not to adopt. There are plenty children who do not have disablititles that are waiting for a home. Please you can learn how to take care of a child with a disability. God tell us to take care of the orphan.

It's funny, with our first adoption, we only had disagreeable remarks from some of my husband's family and a very rich man in our old church....Of course that was before FB, blogs etc... It shocks me that anyone could ever be against anyone rescuing a child. Our government and the child's government have the family to leap through lots of hoops (and that's a good thing!) They both want to know the family is in a position to take care of the child(ren) So anyone that gets oked to adopt internationally especially has had their backgrounds gone over with a fine tooth comb!!! And I'm all for that, it keeps out people who have any sort of background that is unstable. So who in their right minds would want to see a child lay in a bed until he/she dies rather than have a family, and medical. physical. and emotional help????? Some sort of freak!!!! Just ask my 8 year old if he is glad we came and got him!!! He'll tell you!!!!


NOW FOR OUR UPDATE


I got an email from our worker at Homeland Security that there was no problem with the financial part of our application. She just needs a few more documents and should have our fingerprint notification to us by Tuesday:) This is flying!! The lady we are working with is great! I'm so impressed by how prompt and helpful she is! I was hoping we'd have everything by the end of the year and we'll just miss it by 3 days. she thinks we'll have it by Jan 3rd! I'm happy! We have such a sense of urgency to get everything done. I believe God can work miracles but not if we sit on our butt! So I'm not sitting!!!!! I'm running & pushing ahead!! Please continue to pray for our two children, a half a world away.....some days they seem even further....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Galen

http://reecesrainbow.org/?s=galen&x=0&y=0

What a cute little boy. All he seems to need is a little eye surgery/patching & some therapy for his CP. The lady who sponsors Sarah prays for & is involved with Galen also. What a dear little guy. He understands and wants a family. Give him the best Christmas gift ever & step up for him! You'll never regret it!!!

Happy Birthday Sarah

We got an email yesterday that our USCIS/Homeland Security paperwork will be expedited! Thank you Lord! Can't wait to get that done!

The rest of our dossier got hand walked through the Appostille process in Tallahassee yesterday (by a dear friend!) and is on it's way back to me by today. When I get it, I will take it back to "Going Postal" (my new best friends) and it will be on it's way to Texas tonight to be hand delivered to our children's country by a family that is leaving Monday to pick up their children!!!! So by next Wednesday at the latest, it will be safe in our facilitator's hand! WOW!

Our grant application is in. All of our newsletters are out to friends/family who don't use the Internet. I'm even registered at Babies R Us!!! So we are flying.......

Today is Sarah's birthday. I don't know if anyone will wish her a Happy Birthday...there probably won't be a cake or presents....God be with her today & everyday, wrap your arms around her, speak peace to her little heart...give her hope to hang on until we get there.....Next year will be different, I promise!


I LOVE all the comments I get. For some reason I have a hard time responding to them so if you'd like me to respond to you, please include your email address!

Please keep our sweethearts in your prayers! Pray that all paperwork will be correct and there be no hindernaces & that we get the fastest date possible. Please pray that all our finances come in. Right now we need $13,820.25 You can give by going to

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Freecesrainbow.org%2F28647%2Fsponsorclanton&h=tAQHpEWzlAQHAcO9ap6HnTmLckCPpu7CPtzV-gKNwOBtu1g

or through our church Grace Church 7060 Berry Road, Zephyrhills Fl 33540 mark it Clanton Adoption:)

Thank you!!!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Michelle (6)

Michelle (6)


I thought this sweetheart had a family coming for her but she does not! PLEASE pray for her & someone needs to step forward & give her a life! she is in an institution now. From what I've heard about her, she does not seem cognitively delayed. She needs YOU!!!! Follow our example & take a leap of faith. I bet you will NEVER regret it!!!!!! I KNOW she won't!!!!

God will help you when you step out in faith. Not before but when you step out! Five weeks ago we didn't have any extra money BUT God moved when we moved!!!! Now we already have half of the money raised for our adoption! Don't be fearful, we serve a GREAT God who tells us to take care of the orphans. He will help you! We are proof of that help!!!!

You can give excuses to me and they maybe valid. Heck I have lots of excuses WHY we shouldn't, couldn't adopt any more kids....but we chose to step out and do it! You can too. You have so much to give! One day we all will stand befoe God and He will ask us what did we do "for the least of them"? What will you say???

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Paper chase almost done

Years ago I watched a show on tv about young law students. I don't remember any of the plots but they studied alot, as they were chasing their degree. The name of the show was "Paper Chase" or something like that. It made me feel very grown up to watch it...

Well I am so over that!!! The last 5 weeks I have been paper chasing as hard as I could possible do it! I'm so thankful to say that on Monday everything except for our USCIS/Homeland security will be on it's way to Tallahassee to get walk thru the Apostille Dept by a friend who will then send it back to me & I'll send it to a family who lives in Texas! They are leaving to go to our children's country on Monday (after Christmas) to adopt their children! So by next Wednesday, our paperwork will be in the hands of the person who will deal with it there!

If I told you ever step that I've had to take to get to this point, you wouldn't believe it (unless you've done an international adoption) and I don't want to remember it all! LOL But I can say I have literally gone without eating several days as I just didn't have time to eat, work on paperwork & take care of my other responsibilities! I have fallen in the bed at night, and fell asleep before the lights were out! But it is so worth it!

Our children's pediatrician wrote a letter for both children asking USCIS to move our paperwork along as fast as possible. I've also contacted our senator, Marco Rubio (who I voted for) & his office has been all over this! I am hoping we will have our fingerprints done by the end of December & our clearance soon after!!

We are down to needing $13,820.25! Please note when we started 5 weeks ago we basically needed $30,000! God is good & so are His people! I am amazed at what God has done for our sweet children!

So please keep praying! There are so many things going on right now in our children's country, pray that nothing will stop their adoption. We want to be their parents & give them the love they've not had yet. When God brings them to mind, please pray...believe me you have no idea of all that could stand in their way of having their own family. I do not ask for prayer lightly, I really mean we need your prayers, thank you!

A Special Child

You weren’t like other children,
And God was well aware,
You’d need a caring family,
With love enough to share.
... And so He sent you to us,
And much to our surprise,
You haven’t been a challenge,
But a blessing in disguise.
Your winning smiles and laughter,
The pleasures you impart,
Far outweigh your special needs,
And melt the coldest heart.
We’re proud that we’ve been chosen,
To help you learn and grow,
The joy that you have brought us,
Is more than you can know.
A precious gift from Heaven,
A treasure from above
,
A child who’s taught us many things,
But most of all- “Real Love

Dedicated to Sam! Sam has taught us so much in his 7 years. I thank God for him! He has changed my life around, got my priority's on track & made me more happier than you could imagine!

If you would have told me 10 or 13 years ago that I'd have a blind, mentally delayed child & I would be the happiest I've ever been in my whole life...I'd probably not believed you! But it is the truth! Sure we've cried some tears, we have some regrets for Sam but not for us! He is a joy! Pure Joy! And he keeps my look towards heaven. I'm not satisfied with this life, I have a hope that is eternal. And one day I'll hear my little man talk & see clearly and understand. So for now we enjoy the heck out of him & look forward to THAT DAY!!!!

Thank you God for sending me the son You promised to me! He has changed me & opened my heart to love other kids that aren't "perfect" in the world's eyes but perfect in our eyes!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Seth Job Clanton


Seth is officially on the Reece's Rainbow page "My Family found Me" so I can now publish his picture!!!!! We are looking forward to day that we can hold this little guy and take care of him! Please pray that all the paperwork moves quickly for these two precious children!!!!!

Paper chasing.... still

Sitting here waiting for our notary friend to come by and redo the last 4 pages on our dossier:) Still waiting for my homestudy, which is waiting for Jon's medical (for some reason they didn't check the paper for an HIV test and it had to be redone) Then we still wait on the USCIS (homeland security/immigration) background. As soon as I get my homestudy in hand, I'm going to be calling my senator to ask for the paperwork to be expiated!

We sent in the commitment pledge of $1000 for Dmitiry/Seth Can't wait until we are officially matched on Reece's Rainbow and are able to put up his picture too!!!


We are working on all the funding, have some letters/emails out, knowing that the God of this Universe will provide for these kids!!!!

This is the most emotional thing I have ever done in my life. We didn't have to be vulnerable and love these kid but we made the choice to and it hurts. It hurts because we care for them and want to take away their hurt and give them love and a full belly, and we can't yet. We have a son like them, we know their vulnerability and needs, probably more than most. It's hard because we know how loving we've taken care of Sam since his first breath. We've taken him to every specialist and tried to meet all his needs and anticipate his wants as he doesn't communicate verbally. So it hurts to think of two children, lost in a dark world with no one to be their parents. Oh God protect them until we can be there for them!

Please pray for them whenever you think of them.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

For all you who thought I was a saint...I ain't LOL

Today has been crazy...got LOTS of work done on the adoption. I'm trying to make sure everything is in for the homestudy, do the USCIS/Homeland Security stuff & the "pre dossier" and the dossier....and raise money ALL at the same time. All are inter related yet separate... Then today the "pre dossier" (for lack of a better term) changed. Well I hadn't done it yet anyhow, I was waiting for the change BUT there came an urgency with the change to get certain documents in. Just so you know getting an adoption document in, doesn't just mean signing it and mailing it...OH NO that would be TOO easy! It means signing it, getting it notarized, faxing it to the agency for approval, getting approved and then sending it to Tallahassee for it to be "apostilled" a fancy name for the notary's seal to be verified ON EACH SHEET OF PAPER!!!! For a charge of course! Then it has to be sent back to us, mailed to the agency and sent to the country!! So I'm stressing!

Then to finish up the paperwork for our homestudy that might be finsihed by Monday I had to drive to Tampa, find the Dept of Children & Families to get our child abuse clearance...(to make sure we haven't been abusing our kids. My son threatened me and told me I had to get him pizza or he'd tell on me lol since he is way bigger than me....)

So I FINALLY find the place and as I'm getting my documents out of the van, a older lady pulls up and tells me "you are in a handicapped parking spot" I said "i know" and just continue getting my stuff. She then told me to move. Ok I sorta lost it at that point and I told her in a slightly louder than normal voice that I have a handicapped child in the car & would she like to see his Florida ID????? THEN she says "lady you don't hae to get all huffy & be rude to me" At that point I reminded her who began the conversation..... She moved. Then I saw her come in the office I was in and go in the employee door....don't you LOVE state workers like that? Reminds me of bratty girls who loved to tell on other children to get them in trouble (and yes I have someone in mind as I write LOLOL)

Anyhow just wanted all my new readers know I'm not always a saint:) What a day!!!!! And I still have stuff to do tonight, I feel like I have a paper to write (even tho it's not that bad) Then Jon & I have early medical appointments in the morning, then I'm sending in our commitment promise on Seth, Steve has to get his bottom braces, we have a ton of stuff to get notarized, faxed and checked. I'm going to wait to over night it to my friend in Tallahassee who is going to walk it through the appostille process and send it back the same day, till I get the homestudy so it can all go together. so many things to come together in the next few days.....

BTW, we did get pizza tonight in Tampa, a Pizza Hut right next to an adult bookstore....what a day!!!! But we are doing it all for two little ones so it's worth it!!!