Saturday, August 29, 2009

Our Adoption Date

Not "date" as in the day it will happen, but "date" as in a day out with my husband. We got a babysitter on Thursday and spent the day doing adoption stuff. We had a phone interview with our adoption agency that morning. After we finished that, we headed to the police department to get fingerprinted. We grabbed lunch and then went to Birmingham to our homestudy agency office for our first interview with them. At some point during the day we realized it was the first time in a looooong time that we had spent the entire day alone, together, without Clayton. It was a really fun day that reminded me why I love my husband so much and made me so happy to be going through this adoption process with him!

In case you are wondering, both of the interviews went great. We got some more information from our adoption agency about John Sergeant. We were given a better idea of our timeline and what to expect when we go to Russia. It was very reassuring and I feel like I have a much better idea of the whole Russian adoption process now. Our homestudy interview was more personal; just a lot of questions about our family and such.

So this isn't the most interesting post ever. But it's very exciting to us and I'm thrilled to be able to document three more steps toward bringing John Sergeant home!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Got my physical done today at my regular endocrinologist appointment. There was a lot of blood work and such that had to be done, so it took a while. I have to tell you that my endo is a God-send. I'm a Type 1 Diabetic, and so is he. He takes wonderful care of me and goes above and beyond the call of duty. So today when I go in with this physical for him to fill out that has to be notarized, he says, "No problem, I can do this. Let me take care of it all while you are here." Now I have to explain, I had already done lab work to prep for this appointment, as I typically do every three months when I see him. It didn't call for ANY of the tests (HIV, TB, etc.) that the physical required. He took the time to send me back to the lab, re-order the tests, do the complete physical, and even agreed to take it to a notary himself rather than having me bring one to his office (they don't have one at his office like some doctor's offices do). He contacted all my other doctors (gyno, eye dr, and dentist) and requested records WHILE I WAS THERE. Now maybe all of you have fab-o doctors who do this kind of stuff for you all the time, but it's been my experience that most doctors would put the paper in your file, have you do all the preparatory lab work, gather your records, and then come back for the physical. I certainly don't think most of them would personally call, from their cell phone, while they are in the room with you, to all of my other doctors and request records. And I'm sure they wouldn't go to the notary themselves to sign the paper. It is supposed to be ready for me to pick up this afternoon...what a great doctor!

Tomorrow: Phone interview (adoption agency) at ten a.m. and first homestudy interview with(homestudy agency) at 2 p.m. Whew!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

If You are Looking for an Adoption Fundraiser...

Here ya go! My friend, Ed, told me about Just Love Coffee Roasters, which was created by a friend of his to help families pay for their adoptions. I've already filled out our pre-application to help us raise money for our adoption. If I haven't said it in the past, we are not soliciting money for our adoption. We hope we can pay for it by saving as much as possible and borrowing the rest if needed. However, we will not turn down donations if God has called you to help us financially. We plan to help others financially with their adoptions, so we understand the calling. Anyway, we figure that lots of people buy coffee. And lots of people buy free trade, organically grown coffee. So if you are one of those people, why not buy your coffee from Just Love Coffee Roasters and help a family who is adopting? Five dollars per bag of coffee sold goes to the family's adoption fund. That can add up fast! It's a win-win! The site isn't completely up and running yet, but you can browse around and read about it. There are also fan groups on Facebook and Twitter (I don't Twitter so I don't have a link for them...sorry!). I will keep you updated and let you know when you can start buying coffee to help with adoptions.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Peanut Butter & Jelly

Early one morning, Greg and I were laying in bed and Clayton came to join us (as he often does...usually between 5 and 6 a.m....why o why?). He was chatting it up so we knew there was no hope of dozing back off for an extra hour of sleep. So we started talking about Sarge and where his place would be in our bed when he got home. Out of nowhere, Clayton yelled, "HEY! SARGE CAN BE THE JELLY!" Explanation: we make "Clayton sandwiches" which is a family hug with Clayton in the middle. I guess he was thinking he could be the peanut butter and Sarge could be the jelly and we could make pb&j sandwiches instead of Clayton sandwiches! I love the way that little mind thinks.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Donation Thank You

Not sure where it came from but I was so excited to see $25 in our grant fund with Reece's Rainbow. I just can't explain how humbling it is to receive money from someone to help with adoption costs. So a big heartfelt thank you to whomever donated from the Davises...including our newest family member, Sarge!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Around the World

Hopefully my posts will answer some questions I know many people have about our decision to adopt. I'm also hopeful that it will raise awareness and serve to advocate for growing families through adoption. So that being said, I wanted to start by explaining our decision to adopt internationally.

True confession time. I never thought we would adopt internationally. I always said, "There are so many children suffering in America, why would we go to another country to adopt?" Not that I disagreed with international adoption at all, but my personal experiences just led me to feel strongly about domestic adoption. You see, I've been a social worker for almost 10 years. I've seen more than enough abused and neglected children right here in the U.S. So it was hard for me to understand going around the world to adopt a child. But then we started researching waiting children with Down Syndrome. When we learned that there are over 200 families on the waiting list to adopt a child with Down Syndrome in the U.S., our focus turned to international adoption. The statistics on orphans with Down Syndrome in other countries were absolutely staggering. Here are a few that I gathered on various humanitarian organizations' websites.
  • There are 700,000 orphans in the country from which we are adopting, including "typical" children and those with special needs.
  • Statistically, 1 in 733 live births results in a child with Down Syndrome, therefore there are approximately 955 children in the country from which we are adopting with DS who are orphans.
  • There is no place in society for these children who are seen as "defective." They are put into orphanages by their families out of shame and fear. 90-95% of these orphans have at least one living parent and sometimes an entire family. Doctors typically advise the families to give the children up because of the widespread belief that these children will not be able to be contributing members of society.
  • Children with special needs are allowed to stay in "baby houses" until they are 4 years old. Then they are transferred to state mental institutions or special orphanages for children with disabilities. Once they are transferred, they are no longer eligible to be adopted.
  • 85% of these children die within the first year of being transferred due to the lack of proper medical care, nutrition or LOVE.

Below is a video expose' that I found on orphans in mental institutions in Serbia. Although we are not adopting from Serbia, the conditions shown are very similar in many Eastern European countries. If you choose to watch this video, please be prepared for some heartbreaking graphic images of less than humane conditions.

We have been told to expect a negative response to us when we walk the streets with our child when we go to pick him up. We have been told that complete strangers may come up and chastise us for having our child in public. I just can't imagine living in a society where humans with disabilities are seen as disgraceful, disposable and social outcasts. This is one of the most compelling reasons we had for choosing international adoption.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Our Family Support Page is Up!

Yay! It feels real now...we have a page on Reece's Rainbow. Here's the link:

Or, you can click on my super-cool button in the right sidebar, designed by Amanda! You can also add it to your own blog if you wanna copy the code below the button. And would you look at that elephant...seems Sarge is already a Bama fan!

And now I'm off to do a happy dance...

Clayton's Two Cents

We've been talking to Clayton a lot about the adoption. He's constantly asking questions about Sarge and wanting to know when he's "coming to my house." It's hard to explain to a three-year-old why we have to wait so long to bring Sarge home. As usual, Clayton has an opinion about the process and here are some of the funniest conversations we've had:

Clayton: "Why are you looking at Sarge?" (I was actually calling somebody on my cell phone but Sarge's pic is the background pic on my phone).
Me: "Well, I have his picture on here because I miss him and looking at his picture helps me feel better."
Clayton: (after a couple of minutes of silence) "Mommy? I miss Sarge too. Can I have your phone to call him?"

Me: "Clayton, Sarge is a long way from Tuscaloosa. Mommy and daddy will have to fly on a big airplane to go get him."
Clayton: "You don't have to go. The mailman can just bring him."

Me: "We are going to give Sergey a new name. We are going to name him Jonathan Sergeant. You can call him John Sergeant or Sarge."
Clayton: "We can name him Shad Johnson Sergey." (referring to former UA player Rashad Johnson, with whom Clayton has been mildly obsessed since he was old enough to say "Roll Tide")

Rashad Johnson and Coach Saban